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Chairman's Co-Award a Well-Kept Surprise

By Ric Reynolds

July 22, 2015 - When John Miller, EAA 212603, and his wife, Audrie, arrived at EAA’s annual membership meeting Wednesday morning, she knew he was to receive the prestigious EAA Chairman’s Award from Jack J. Pelton.

Little did she know that she would also be honored.

“She’s my right hand,” said John, a retired Air Force major general who’s been coming to Oshkosh since 1983. Since the 1990s he has played a key role in procuring current military aircraft, like the B-52, F-22, and F-35 appearing on the ramp this week.

“I’m involved in coordinating all the military aircraft that attend Oshkosh, including all branches,” he said. He credits the professionalism and reputation of EAA and the Oshkosh air show with making this job easier.

Audrie’s role is hosting VIPs to assure they get an idea of what EAA is all about.

“My wife reaches out to all the military visitors, like Gen. Brady, Medal of Honor recipient, Bud Anderson and others, making sure they come out year after year. And it has an impact. Audrie has the ability to make people feel so special and wanted.”

For Audrie, it was a total surprise; her husband kept the secret for more than a month since learning of the award.

“Oh yeah, I was surprised,” she said. “I was very surprised.”

John also deflects credit from himself, typical for EAA volunteers. “I really don’t know why we were selected for this award,” he said.

“There are literally thousands of deserving volunteers that make sure AirVenture is such a great success. I am so honored and humbled. And I surely could not do this without Audrie.”

John has 18,000 flight hours holding FAA ratings in airplanes, rotorcraft, and gliders. He is a Gold Seal Flight Instructor in airplanes, instrument, and gliders, and is also an A&P with an IA rating. John also owns a Cessna 172 and a Grumman Cougar, with plans to get a seaplane rating at some point.

He currently serves on the board of directors for Omega Air Refueling, a business that operates aerial refueling 707s and DC-10s for the United States Navy and Marine Corps. It’s the only company in the world conducting commercial fee-for-service, in-flight refueling services.
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